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How to: Access and Initialize Server Explorer/Database Explorer

Use Server Explorer/Database Explorer to create and manipulate database connections, and to connect to servers and explore their contents.


In Visual Studio 2013, you can connect to a SQL Server database from either SQL Server Object Explorer or the Data Connections node in Server Explorer. SQL Server Object Explorer provides a view that is like SQL Server Management Studio. To open this explorer from the menu bar, choose View, SQL Server Object Explorer. For more information, see Connected Database Development.

To access Server Explorer

  • On the View menu, choose Server Explorer or Database Explorer.

    - or -

  • If the Server Explorer or Database Explorer tab is displayed on the left edge of the screen, select that tab.

By default, Server Explorer/Database Explorer displays data connections and links to servers that you have previously used.

The following table provides links to additional information.

Create, edit, and browse SQL Server database objects.

Connect to a server from the Servers node.

Note Note

The Servers node is not available in the Standard Edition of Visual Basic and Visual C#. The Servers node is also not available in Visual Basic Express and Visual C# Express.

You can drag items from Server Explorer/Database Explorer onto Visual Studio designers. This creates new resources that are preconfigured to retrieve information from the selected resource. For more information, see How to: Add Items from Server Explorer.

When you first access Server Explorer/Database Explorer, the window appears on the left edge of the development environment. Clicking the Auto Hide button retracts the window into a tab on the left margin. Select the tab to expand the window. After you select the tab to view the window, it automatically retracts again as you select items on the design surface. If you hide the window, then the tab no longer appears, but you can reopen Server Explorer/Database Explorer from the Project menu. For more information, see Arranging and Using Windows in Visual Studio and Kinds of Windows.